Dr. Katie Kochenour never dreamed she’d follow in either of her parents’ footsteps in the dental or education fields. Instead, she envisioned forging a new path of her own.
Though she couldn’t escape their careers’ gravitational pull, in the end, she blazed her own trail, combining the best of both worlds as Akron Children’s newest pediatric dentist in our Celeste Myers Dental Clinic. Each day, she provides preventative and oral health care for kids, while teaching them about the importance of good oral hygiene for overall health. That’s what puts a smile on her face.
Why did you want to become a doctor?
I didn’t! My dad is a periodontist, and my mom is a high school principal. Growing up, I always said I didn’t want to be either. I ended up assisting my dad in the summers throughout high school and when I went away to college, I found myself gravitating toward the sciences and preparing for dental school.
One of my favorite things about being a pediatric dentist is teaching my patients and their families about the importance of good oral hygiene in our overall health. I attribute ending up where I am to both my mom and dad for introducing many different career paths, including dentistry and teaching, but never pushing me in either direction. They allowed me to realize on my own how special it is to be able to combine both of their trades into one!
My Monday–morning must have is _____ .
Coffee! Actually, my every morning must have is coffee — black, no cream, no sugar and make it a double!
What piece of advice did someone give you when you were young that still resonates with you today?
Growing up, every morning while getting dropped off at school, my mom told my sisters and me “to be nice to everyone.” That simple command stuck with me through the day and throughout my life. I continue to remind myself of this each day, and I now tell my boys (and husband!) before we leave each morning. It’s simple, but important.
Where did you grow up?
Springfield, Misery … I mean MizzuRAH … I mean Missouri. Home of Bass Pro Shops, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Brad Pitt! It’s a beautiful part of the country and a wonderful place to grow up, despite its nicknames.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My husband, Nick, who is also a part of the Akron Children’s team! It’s his experience that sparked my interest in coming to work here. We have 2 boys: Michael (2.5) and Johnny (6 months).
What’s your favorite movie/ book /TV show/sports team?
I am an avid sports fan! While we have absolutely adopted the Indians, Browns (ugh, Browns fans are SO loyal!) and Cavs as “our teams” since moving to Cleveland 6 years ago, I grew up and still am a Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas Jayhawks fan!
What couldn’t you live without?
Ha! I promise these are the first things that came to mind: my electric toothbrush and retainers. I spent more than my fair share of time at the dentist and in braces as a child. Public Service Announcement: If you DON’T wear your retainers, your teeth WILL move!
What was your first paying job?
I was a beverage cart driver on a golf course. My dad didn’t pay well enough (or at all!), so I left his office to quench the thirst of golfers that did. I developed the art of small talk, while out on the cart. Contrary to popular belief, not all dentists golf. I have not gone back to a golf course since I left that job.